Leather care and cleaning is paramount in the life of a Leatherman, because of the entailed discipline and respect for what gear stands for. Leather items, such as bags, furniture, and clothing, require proper care to maintain their appearance and longevity. Being a BDSM person, you’re likely dealing with stains, odors, and general wear and tear. While we have an entire chapter only dedicated to Boots and Bootblacking, here’s a guide to help you clean and care for your Leather Gear effectively at home.
Table of Contents
- How to Clean Leather at home
- Homemade Leather Cleaning Recipes
- Iconic and reliable products
How to Clean Leather at home
The first thing to understand about Leather, is that it used to be the hide of an animal; this implies that as such, it comes with pores and needs to literally breathe. Clogging the pores and breathability of your Leather items will eventually make the Leather rot and fall apart, so always be cautious and patient, using small amounts of products especially when it comes to conditioners. In every Old Guard Leather Family there are traditions and home-made products, so we will include in this article several home made recipes by Master John of Indiana, together with the personal advice and guidance of Master Lupus.
Basic Leather Cleaning Steps
- Removing heavy dirt and dust: Start by taking any dust and debris of your Leather item gently and using a natural, soft hair brush. The same you use for Bootblacking is good enough, but have a separate one for your Leather Gear. Gently stroke the dust and dirt away from the Leather, and move to step 2.
- Spot Test and Prep: Before cleaning your leather with any new product or recipe, perform a spot test in an inconspicuous area to ensure the cleaning solution won’t affect the color. Start by using a mixture of mild soap and water on a damp clean towel to gently wipe down the leather. This should help remove most spots and dirt.
- Removing Soap Residue: Rinse the towel and wipe away any soap residue from the leather. Leather is not fully water-resistant, so consider not adding too much water while you use a clean, damp towel to wipe off the soap.
- Drying: Use a dry towel to gently blot and remove any remaining moisture. Leave the item alone for 10 to 20 minutes to let it dry naturally.
- Conditioning: To prevent drying out, condition the leather using products like Huberd’s shoe grease or Dubbin’s (excluding suede leather). Apply the conditioner after the Leather has dried completely. For added protection and conditioning, consider using specific leather oils or an at-home option like olive oil.
Removing the Smell of Smoke from Leather
Today the smell of stale smoke is not pleasant to everyone. The dominant, if He so wishes, can have His leather cleaned easily at home after being in a smoke-filled room. This should be the Dominant’s decision, of course, but many people do not enjoy the smell of cigar or cigarette smoke.
To remove the smell of smoke from leather, I use undiluted white vinegar and baking soda. Take a spray bottle and put in a teaspoon of baking soda, two tablespoons undiluted vinegar and two cups of water. This creates foam. Once the foaming has stopped, replace the bottle lid and spray the solution as required completely over all the exposed leather. You should spray it directly onto the leather and wipe it off immediately. Then let it air dry COMPLETELY.
If the smell still hasn’t been removed, put your leather in a plastic bag and put a bowl of vinegar in the bag and seal the bag for about one week. Your leather will come out smelling like vinegar instead of smoke, let it dry completely airing out the vinegar.
It is crucial to condition the leather either way after it has air dried. Condition the leather with Huberd’s shoe grease or Dubbin’s (a leather conditioner, to be heated at 180 f°) immediately following the drying process of the leather. Do not do this with suede leather.
To sum it up:
- Vinegar Solution: Prepare a solution by combining 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 2 tablespoons of undiluted vinegar, and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution directly onto the leather, then wipe it off immediately.
- Air Drying: Allow the leather to air dry completely.
- Additional Treatment: If the smoke smell persists, place the leather item in a sealed plastic bag along with a bowl of vinegar for about a week. Afterward, air it out to remove the vinegar smell.
- Conditioning: After air drying, condition the leather with appropriate products like Huberd’s shoe grease or Dubbin’s.
Homemade Leather Cleaning Recipes
Several products in your kitchen can help to clean and condition leather. White vinegar is ideal as a basic homemade leather cleaner. It is perfect for regular cleaning and maintaining the health of the material. Meanwhile, lemon juice mixed with cream of tartar is excellent for removing stains. Of course, vinegar and lemon juice are very acidic substances, and should be diluted before being applied, unless in the more aggressive case of removing stale smoke smell from Leather, that we’ve seen earlier.
To keep your leather clean but also supple, a mixture of one part white vinegar to two parts linseed oil can be applied with a soft towel. Here are some of our recipes:
Recipe for a Natural Homemade Leather Conditioner
- 1 part Beeswax
- 1 part Cocoa Butter
- 2 parts Almond Oil
Beeswax is amazing for leather, but it takes some time to prepare. To make a beeswax leather conditioner, use one part beeswax, two parts almond oil and one part cocoa butter. Cook and blend on medium heat until the oils melt into each other.
Once it cools, this balm can be massaged into the leather with your fingers before you polish it with a dry cloth.
Recipe to Get Stains Out of Leather
- 1 part Lemon Juice
- 1 part Cream of Tartar
- Mix both to a soft paste
- Apply with microfiber cloths
An at-home solution for removing leather stains involves one part cream of tartar and one part lemon juice. Mix it to get a creamy paste. Using a soft cloth, work it into the stain. If the stain remains, let it sit for a few hours before applying the mixture again. When the stain has been removed, wipe it clean and use a leather conditioner (see above recipe for conditioner).
For water stains, you can use water to treat the stain. Wet the entire cushion, jacket or area with a sponge and room temperature water. Afterward, use the sponge to remove the moisture gradually. Do not scrub the fabric or expose it to the sun. As long as the water was reapplied uniformly, the water spots will disappear.
Removing Oil Stains from Leather
Just as you can get oils stains out of clothes, they can be removed with some cornstarch and patience. Rub some cornstarch into the stain until the friction makes your fingers warm up. The cornstarch will absorb the oil that is loosened from the heat. When you have absorbed all of the oil possible, brush the powder off. If any of the stains remain, repeat this method.
Getting Ink Out or Pen Stains Off of Leather
Pen ink is a dye so that it will stain leather extremely fast. Unfortunately, your leather is also dyed, so any product that dissolves the ink can also dissolve the color of your leather. If you can afford it, find a professional to help. For small stains or individuals on a budget, some rubbing alcohol can help, but beware, this can easily remove your Leather’s die especially if it’s some low quality pop Leather sold in some Fuggerstraße store.
Make sure to test the rubbing alcohol on a small spot first to make sure that it does not damage the leather.
Using a cotton ball, apply some rubbing alcohol onto the ink stain. Use circular motions to rub it into the stain gently. Before long, the stain should begin to disappear. Since this will remove some of the leather’s moisture, make sure to apply leather conditioner afterward.
Natural Homemade White Leather Cleaning Recipe
- quarter cup of Vinegar
- half a cup of Olive Oil
- mix in Spray bottle
When cleaning white leather, never use bleach or ammonia because they will damage the fabric. Instead, use some water, mild soap and a few drops of vinegar. Dampen a cloth with this mixture before wiping down the leather.
For a natural alternative white leather cleaner, try using a mixture of ¼ cup vinegar and ½ cup olive oil. Spray the mixture on the stain, allow it to sit for five minutes and wipe it off. Ideally, wipe up spills as they happen so that they are less likely to stain. Wiping down leather every few days with a dry cloth can help to prevent smudges and light soiling.
Iconic and reliable products for Leather cleaning and care
- Fiebing’s Saddle Soap: A cherished choice among cowboys and equestrians, this classic leather cleaner has stood the test of time, offering effective cleaning and conditioning in one step.
- Kiwi Saddle Soap: Trusted by generations of riders and bikers, Kiwi’s saddle soap remains a staple for its ability to clean, condition, and preserve leather’s natural texture.
- Neatsfoot Oil: A time-honored favorite among traditionalists, neatsfoot oil has been cherished for its deep-conditioning properties that enrich and protect leather.
- Mink Oil: Revered by leather enthusiasts, mink oil has been a go-to conditioner for its ability to soften and revive leather while providing a classic patina.
Leather Waxes and Greases:
- Huberd’s Shoe Grease: An iconic choice among bikers and outdoor enthusiasts, Huberd’s has been trusted for generations to waterproof and preserve leather in challenging conditions.
- Obenauf’s Leather Preservative: This classic leather grease is revered by cowboys and those who venture into the rugged outdoors, known for its tough waterproofing and rejuvenation capabilities.
As you see, using some basic ingredients, it is quite easy to clean leather at home. Remember never to expose leather to direct sunlight and avoid any harsh chemicals. After cleaning, always apply a leather conditioner so that the fabric remains supple and soft.